Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to Lose Weight Eating 5000+ Calories a Day

My wife has been playing around with FitDay lately. It's a free online way to list everything you eat in a day and see what the nutritional breakdown is.

After seeing her fat/carb/protein breakdown, I got curious. Ever since I started what I call the Evolutionarily Appropriate Diet (i.e., paleo, caveman, hunter-gatherer... etc.), I've refrained from counting calories--after all, if what I'm eating is "appropriate," I shouldn't need to. But since I've been uping the intensity of my weight training this summer, I have worried a little about whether or not I'm getting enough protein.

In any case, I typed in a few days to see roughly where I'm at. It turns out that I'm eating more than 5000 calories a day.

Today was 5,238. Yesterday was more. That pigout day I had last week came in at 6150 calories. And I've been pretty much eating this way the whole time I've been on this diet--in other words, I've been rapidly losing weight while eating 5000+ calories a day.

Gary Taubes explained in Good Calories, Bad Calories that not all calories are the same, but the idea that I could be eating like this and still losing weight just floors me. The "caloric balance" calculator on FitDay (which takes into account exercise levels, etc.) suggests that I should be gaining 3.6 pounds a week. Instead I've lost a total of 50 pounds from my all time high.

Need any more proof that a calorie is not just a calorie?

Just so you know, my breakdown for today was 72% fat, 15% protein, 8% carbs, and 5% alcohol (or will be once I crack open the Old Crow). That might seem low for protein, but with the total caloric intake so high, I'm getting more than a gram of protein per pound of lean body weight.

I may experiment by slightly cutting back on a few of the fattier things (I ate a whopping 1561 calories worth of nuts and 514 of heavy cream today) and adding a little more protein, but then again, I may not.

After all, I'm losing weight on a 5000+ calorie diet. What more can I ask?

[NOTE: If anyone wants to try out FitDay and post their numbers in the comments, please do! (You can post anonymously or make up a fake name if you want.) I'm really curious as to how many calories others are eating...]

20 comments:

  1. Damn you Selwood! I use a similar site, Calorie King. Since January, I have lost 20 pounds by eating 1250 calories a day. I've stood next to you. You are not 4x bigger than I am. Not fair!

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  2. Elizabeth HickeyJuly 23, 2009 at 6:28 AM

    Molly, don't do it to yourself! Since February I have lost 30 pounds, and according to fitday I eat about 2200-2500 calories a day. It's much less miserable! You get bacon!

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  3. This is amazing. I've never counted calories, but am pretty certain I've never eaten the recommended 2000. Which, especially since I'm not even on the paleo diet, proves calories in does not equal calories out. Perhaps it was Taubes that said if that were true, all teenagers would be fat?!

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  4. To clarify - I'm pretty certain I've always eaten more than 2k calories, even when my average day is just sitting in front of a computer.

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  5. I've spent months eating 1200 calories a day - which let me tell you SUCKS - exercising madly (training for a marathon in fact) without losing one miserable pound.

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  6. I ate a solid month of 1200 calories a day and didn't lose a single pound. Since I weighed 400# at the time that's just insane. When I upped my calories to over 2000, I started losing weight again. I think some metabolisms are worse off with low-cal than with high-cal, even when fully low-carb.

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  7. I've been experimenting a little with eating 5 or 6 very small meals daily, consisting only of an extremely high-fat mixture of avocado, peanut butter, pecans, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil.

    A glob of that stuff is so high-calorie that I'm eating very tiny portions.

    It seems to be doing a very good job of lowering my Type 2 diabetic blood glucose. All those mono-unsaturated fats also seem to be very filling, so I don't have any cravings to eat more. Hopefully, the weight loss will kick in soon.

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  8. Jonathon, that's an amazing result. I'm kind of interested in it the other way round though - how the heck are you managing to eat 5000 calories? I have real problems eating enough on Paleo to gain weight - any chance you could post a couple of days' menus?

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  9. @Roger--Wow. Old post. I'm no longer eating 5,000 calories a day, because... Well, because my body fat level is pretty stable now (although still creeping down) and I'm just not that hungry. Do you eat any dairy? Butter, cream, and cheese really pack in the calories. Also, heavy weight training makes my appetite go through the roof. Especially if I up the carbs at the same time.

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  10. so im a little angry. i eat 6000 calories a day and im trying to gain weight (not fat) for football and i started working out more so i eat more now im at 6500 or some days 7000 it doesnt cost much but i im angry cause i lost 3% body fat in the past 3 months and 2.8 lbs i keep very close track of my weight to see what will increase my weight without lots of fat. so if anyone has anything to say why i cant gain weight maybe my matebolism is to high or maybe its cause im 16 but anything would help. just a little side info so you dont suggest it i workout at least an hour a day if not more never exceed 2 and take protein powder i know i workout my spotter is physical therapist and grills me if i do anything in the slightest bit wrong

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  11. @Anonymous--If you're looking to gain weight for football, I'd go to Mark Rippetoe for advice. His book/program Starting Strength plus the gallon of milk a day protocol (GOMAD) seems like a perfect fit for you. Take a look at his site and try the forums for advice. http://startingstrength.com/

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  16. Calories in Calories out is a myth, it's about insulin that makes you store fat or burn fat

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